Copyright Outside the Box

October 2, 2015

Columbia Law School

Recommended Readings

The Kernochan Center’s 2015 Symposium looked at copyright in areas often omitted from the traditional discussion such as tattoos, gardens, computer-generated works and conceptual art, as well as what authorship means in the 21st century.

Welcome and Keynotes


9:15- 10:15                  

Keynote Addresses

Robert Kasunic, Associate Register of Copyrights and Director of Registration Policy and Practices,
United States Copyright Office

Joseph Liu, Professor of Law, Boston College Law School


Panel 1: Concepts of Authorship


Panel 1: Concepts of Authorship

This panel will examine how certain forms of expression, particularly conceptual art, viewer-participatory art, and other forms in which the creator incorporates random changes to the work, challenge the copyright concepts of authorship and fixation.

We will investigate two principal issues:
(1) Fixation:  when is the work fixed?  How long must it stay in a given form to be considered “fixed”?
(2) Who creates the work, and what is the significance of outside forces, e.g., nature and acts of third parties?
What is the significance of these factors for various types of conceptual art?


Zahr Said, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Washington Law School

Megan Carpenter, Professor of Law & Co-Director, Center of Law & Intellectual Property, Texas A&M Law School

Robert Clarida, Partner, Reitler Kailas & Rosenblatt LLC

Agnieszka Kurant, Visual Artist


Panel 2: Concepts of Authorship


Panel 2: Concepts of Authorship in Computer-Generated Works

This panel will examine concepts of authorship in the specific context of computer-generated works, compare human authorship and robot creators, and discuss incorporation of randomness in authorship.


Bruce Boyden, Associate Professor of Law, Marquette Law School

Annemarie Bridy, Professor of Law, University of Idaho College of Law

James Grimmelmann, Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law

LUNCH (Provided)


Panel 3: Fringe Works


Panel 3: Fringe Works—Typefonts, Yoga, and Tattoos

This panel will examine issues of functionality and scope through examples of three kinds of works on the fringes of copyright: typefonts, yoga sequences, and tattoos.


Gloria Phares, Of Counsel, Hoffmann Marshall Strong LLP

Christopher Buccafusco, Professor of Law, Cardozo Law School

Yolanda King, Associate Professor of Law, Northern Illinois University College of Law



Panel 4: Manageability


Panel 4: Manageability—if authorship, what then?

This panel will examine instances in which concern for the manageability of the work augurs a determination that the claimant is not an “author” in the first place (e.g., 9th Circuit en banc decision in Garcia v. Google and the problem of critical editions such as the Dead Sea Scrolls). It will also explore the prospect that recognizing authorship brings too many authors and ask 'Has the derivative work replaced the original work?'.


Jennifer Rothman, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School

Eva Subotnik, Associate Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law

Jay Dougherty, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School